Welcome to WWAC’s February PubWatch coverage for AfterShock Comics! This February has brought us the launches of a few new AfterShock books, the endings of some others, and the announcement of even more titles!
New from AfterShock in May will be Sympathy for No Devils, from writer Brandon Thomas, artist Lee Ferguson, colorist Jose Villarrubia, and letterer Simon Bowland. About the book, Thomas says “I’m always interested in injecting new black and brown characters into genres where they typically haven’t appeared, and I’d never seen a book with this particular mix of characters, environments, and storytelling styles. Think people will LOVE the subversion of tropes, and the refusal of the book to be pinned down. Right when you get too comfortable, the gears get switched again and we find a new avenue to take Winston and this story down.” The first issue of Sympathy for No Devils is scheduled for release May 20, 2020.
More information from AfterShock Comics is below.
Sympathy for No Devils #1
Winston Wallis has a secret. He is all that remains of mankind, and is surrounded on all sides by demons, monsters, and ghouls that picked up where humankind left off – lying, stealing, cheating, and killing.
Years ago, it was Winston’s job to investigate such things. Now his ex-partner needs help solving the brutal murder of the world’s largest Colossal. Because he knows the secret. He knows about the magical curse that gives Winston the ability to survive a world where everything is bigger, stronger, and angrier than he is. But how long can Win’s impossible luck last, and will this new case finally be the death of him?
He certainly hopes so…
From Brandon Thomas (Excellence) and Lee Ferguson (Sam and His Talking Gun), the critically-acclaimed creators of The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury, comes a bold new series filled with murder, mystery, monsters, and magic!
Additionally this month, Aftershock Comics has announced Lonely Receiver, from writer Zac Thompson, artist Jen Hickman, and letterer Simon Bowland, to release a first issue on May 6, 2020. Thompson describes this new horror comic as “a horrific break up story…..about a person and their phone,” and “an existential horror story about how everybody uses everything and how everything uses everybody. It’s about a world where we define things by their inherent use to us.” You can take a first look at the cover and the first issue solicit below:
Lonely Receiver #1
Catrin Vander, a lonely video producer, buys an Artificial Intelligence partner that’s meant to bond for life. After ten years together, her holographic wife suddenly disconnects without a warning. The breakup drives Catrin to the point of near insanity. She’s alone for the first time in years and reeling from a loss she can’t comprehend.
Set in the new future, drenched in pastels and sunshine, Lonely Receiver is a horror/breakup story in five parts. Written by Zac Thompson (Undone by Blood, The Replacer, Her Infernal Descent, No One’s Rose, X-Men) and illustrated in color by Jen Hickman (Moth & Whisper, Test).
This month, AfterShock released the first issues of three new series: Godkillers, Undone by Blood, or The Shadow of a Wanted Man, and The Man Who Effed Up Time. For reviews of some of these new titles, you need to look no further than this PubWatch!
The Man Who Effed Up Time #1
Dee Cunniffe (Colorist), John Layman (Writer, Letterer), Karl Mostert (Artist).
February 5, 2020
From the first page, The Man Who Effed Up Time is a good time. Thrown into the middle of the story at the start, readers have no choice but to join in the chaos, reeled in by the wild visual of a samurai riding a dinosaur and needing to understand. This works well, because the protagonist, Sean Bennet, a lab assistant in a temporal physics lab, doesn’t understand how exactly he broke time either, but now that he’s found himself in King Abraham Lincoln IV’s kingdom, he knows it’s something that he’s done in time that’s caused this mess. And by the end of the issue, he knows he’s running very short on time in which to fix his mistake. This is an incredibly fun premise, time travel at its most chaotic and creative. And by starting the story after Sean has already turned history as we know it on its head, the first issue paces itself well, so that the story carries excitement through from every page to the next, even through a brief detour through exposition on the subject of time travel in the temporal physical lab in which Sean works.
The art is a great fit for the story, capturing the oddball excitement of the story well with bright colors and a bold, fun art style. The sequences involving the new timeline are particularly fun from an art perspective. Artists Mostert and Cunniffe get to work outside of the box as they bring the world of King Abraham Lincoln IV to life, complete with new sartorial norms, new transportation methods, and unusual domesticated wildlife. The new world Sean finds himself in looks fully realized even as it looks entirely unfamiliar, which speaks to a fantastic quality of visual worldbuilding.
Undone by Blood, Or The Shadow of a Wanted Man #1
Sami Kivela (Artist), Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (Letterer), Lonnie Nadler & Zac Thompson (Writers), Jason Wordie (Colorist).
February 12, 2020
From the first page, I was sold. I love a good western, and what’s so genuinely engaging about the first issue of Undone by Blood is that it gives you two westerns for the price of one. The first issue alternates between the story of Ethel’s return to her hometown of Sweetheart, Arizona to avenge the murder of her entire family, and the plot of the western novel she’s reading, The Shadow of a Wanted Man. The double narrative is effective in putting the reader in Ethel’s headspace by giving readers a sense of what Ethel herself is reading, and both stories give readers the greatest hits of the Western genre, but in different shapes. Ethel is an engaging Western heroine both because Westerns so infrequently have had heroines, but also because her character is so well and effectively defined. Particularly thorough artistic choices, dialogue, and the framing of the novel she reads, she is clearly presented as a unique character who fits the mold of a Western hero while also breaking beyond it.
Visually, this was a fantastic first issue. So much storytelling is packed into the art, entire pages pass without lettering, but the story doesn’t ever lag. Ethel communicates through her actions and movements, and so does this issue. Colorist Jason Wordie differentiates between the story Ethel is reading and the story she is living by changing up the coloring, so that the plot of the novel she is reading is more of a sepia-toned pastel, while higher contrast and darker, brighter tones characterize Ethel’s actual experiences. The art style of Sami Kivela is incredibly fluid and detailed, with story being told both in the nuance of facial expression and in the broad movements of characters moving or walking or fighting. On every level, this was a first issue that excited me, and I look forward to the issues to come. As both a Western fan and a comic fan, I thought this was a strong first chapter, and one of my favorite new books of the year so far.